I recently had something happen outside of my classroom community personally and I needed to reach out for some guidance and advice. The guidance and advice I got was helpful. I was feeling more at peace and then a twist came, “make sure you practice some self-care for you. Whether that means going for a run, eating ice cream, watching TV – take time for you, alone.” I was completely caught off guard. I wasn’t seeking guidance and advice for me but someone thought I needed a nudge. This idea of self-care has been on my mind a lot this week personally and trickled over to my professional life.
In the past seven days, I’ve spent three of them in professional communities; physically and not online. These professional communities took me away from my classroom for two days and away from home for half a day. As I wrapped up the second day yesterday, I realized these three days were burst of professional self-care. Not only do I need to take care of myself personally but my professional life needs nurturing too. I’ve been attending workshops outside my school day for years and extending my learning beyond my teaching degrees. I had an administrator ask me once why I like going to conferences and reading so much. I wasn’t prepared for that question and was a bit surprised but now I have an answer. It’s my professional self-care. I learn new things and often my thinking is reaffirmed. I connect with other people and have conversations to help me process my work with students. I get guidance and nudges to push my thinking. This may sound silly – but I feel loved. When people choose to come together the energy in the room is positive and uplifting. The positives of professional self-care make “the hard to make it happen feelings” diminish.
Tips to Make Professional Self-Care Happen
- Find a local organization that brings people together from different districts.
- Attend a weekend event. Weekends are more relaxing, it feels more enjoyable, there are no sub plans and hopefully your personal life can support some time away.
- Attend with a friend, there’s accountability here to make it happen.
- Commit to attending and get it on the calendar.
- Find a state organization hosting an event.
- Make new connections, often a simple hello is the doorway to more and wear your name badge.
- Attend a session out of your comfort zone to stretch yourself.
- Find a way to stay connected with people in your professional communities.
- Offer to present because sometimes the conference can be free or discounted.
- Offer to share your learning with the staff when you return for financial support.
Classroom communities nurture learners as a whole and as individuals. Make sure you take some time to step away from your classroom community to nurture your professional side of life. I promise it will give you strength, hope, and fresh thinking to carry on.